Archives for posts with tag: Cycling
The road from Sarakhs to Mary.

The road from Sarakhs to Mary.

Whilst looking for tips on cycling across Turkmenistan within the 5 day transit visa I
only really found blogs detailing experiences and not the logistics. A few sections of this trip throw up concerns of how much water to carry, as well as strong headwinds, so I decided I’d record some detailed info during my crossing to help anyone anxious due to the pressure to cross in 5 days like I was.

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Joy! I’ve just reached Istanbul having cycled all the way across Europe from London. I was worried that it wouldn’t feel special to reach here as Istanbul is somewhere I’ve visited before, but, as it turned out, during the agonising three days cycling towards it my memories of the place are what spurred me on to reach it a day early. This may seem like a depressing post but I will now detail probably the three most physically gruelling days of my life.

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I am finally bearing down on the Bulgarian border after all the stress of getting my new wheel parts released by Serbian customs. It took a full 8 days from the parcel arriving in the mail centre in Belgrade to being in my hands, crazy when it only took 22 hours for it to get to Belgrade from Northern Ireland!

Preserved bombed out buildings in Belgrade.

Preserved bombed out buildings in Belgrade.

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I thought it’d been a while since I last posted and though I’d explain why, as you can see from the mileage in the title I haven’t travelled very far! At some point on the 100km ride from Novi Sad, Serbia, to Belgrade, Serbia, I have broken the rear wheel of my bicycle. Frustrating as I was planning to replace this wheel when I returned to England from Turkey as I wasn’t confident it would make it to China. In hindsight I should have made the upgrade before I left. I’ll get onto this later but will try to keep this post chronological from here on…

My cyclists tan coming along...

My cyclists tan coming along…

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Well Budapest was incredible, a city I am already craving going back to. I really should have stayed one more day as the hostel was only 8 Euros and would’ve meant I could have gone on a caving trip under the city.

Interesting roof tiling in Budapest

Interesting roof tiling in Budapest

I spent one day aimlessly wandering around drinking coffee and trying Hungary’s famous Paprika laden Beef Goulash, which is excellant by the way. The next day had a bit more of a plan and I visited the House of Terror, the main interrogation/torture facility from when the Communists were in power and now a museum to the affect both Nazi and Soviet rule had on the country. From the top floor of the museum to the basement you travel in a very slow moving lift whilst being shown an interview with someone involved in the executions here, as he describes the steps being kicked away from the gallows a loud knock hits the elevator floor which scared the life out of some tourists from Japan!

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I’ve finally left Western Europe, crossing the line where the Iron Curtain once stood, and have really started to feel that I’ve cycled quite far from home.

After a couple of relaxing in days in Vienna, stuffing myself with Apple Strudle and Sachertorte, at the wonderful company of my friend Ronnie and his partner Chris’ flat, I set out on on the days ride to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

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The view over Passau

The view over Passau

Well it’s been a mixture of events this week riding through Austria from Passau in Germany to Vienna, the Austrian Capital. Some highs of great food and friends in Linz and then some lows regarding a Wild Boar near Tulln and a cold night on a bench, but lets start at the beginning…

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Herd of sheep outside Dillingen. Quite eerie, if you expand the picture you'll see nearly all of them making eye contact.

Herd of sheep outside Dillingen. Quite eerie, if you expand the picture you’ll see nearly all of them making eye contact.

Well I’ve just reached Passau, the end of the Danube in Germany, on my last leg from Dillingen. Nine days cycling with no rest days (only one 50km half day), all camping bar one night in a hostel and I must say I am weary! Whilst I am significantly fitter than I was when I left I’ve found that gradually, when cycling everyday, I still seem to build up fatigue. At the start of the 9 days I slept 7 hours a night, at the end I am up to around 12. I think I may be pushing too hard but it’s good to learn what I am capable of whilst still in the safe surroundings of western europe. Anyway on with a quick summary of riding this leg.

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My pace is starting to pick up now and I’m well on my way down the Danube, it’s been an interesting week or so since I last posted on the ride from Luxembourg to Strasbourg. Firstly I spent a day off resting in Strasbourg and spent a couple of hours seeing the place, I don’t know if it’s because I had no real expectations of the place (mainly stopped there as it was a logical place on the route to the Danube) or because of the nature of cycling all the way their but I really enjoyed just walking about the town.

Strasbourg Cathedral

Strasbourg Cathedral

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Well it has certainly been a long week! My first real taste of long distance bicycle touring and I am relieved to say I am really enjoying it, even with the cold and rain. I’ve learnt a lot about my equipment and bike, how it all performs and also how I perform in terms of how much food I need to cover the miles (way more than anticipated is the answer to that!).

Leaving Hove

Leaving Hove

After a day recovering in Hove saying goodbye to friends and playing a farewell gig with my band I had a short ride to Seaford where I’d be staying in holiday bungalow with my parents for a night before catching the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry the following morning. The ride down Cycle route 2 was much nicer then the one on Routes 21 & 22 from London to Brighton mostly running along the seafront and away from main roads. Crossed paths and said hello with another fully-loaded (four panniers) cyclist who’d come from Germany.

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